The History of Jr. Pac-man & it’s Sideart

Jr. Pac-man Lettering

Even with the past successes of Pac-man and Ms. Pac-man, most sites will tell you that the downturn of the arcade industry in the early 80’s prevented Jr. Pac-man from obtaining worldwide success. As such, the production of dedicated machines were halted and a number of conversion kits were made available instead. One kit was for a Pac-man conversion, and one was for a Super Pac-man conversion.

Below is the back of one of the flyer’s from the game. You can find this at Arcadeflyers.com.

Jr. Pac-man Flyer Section

You can see that it lists what you get in your conversion, a Jr. Pac-man Logic Board, Header Glass, Monitor Overlay Glass, Control Panel Artwork Overlay, and Front Cabinet Artwork Overlay (kickplate). No mention of full size sideart.

Since most Jr. Pac-man’s were conversions it is quite a challenge to find the original game that was produced in the unique Mappy cabinet. I have heard rumors that only 500 total were ever produced. (Heck, Mappy is a hard enough game to come by, and those go for decent prices as well.)

The conversion kits didn’t come with a set of the original sticker Jr. Pac-man sideart, only the “text” sticker. There were two different versions of this text sticker (both with rounded edges). One that said “Jr. Pac-man” with Jr. riding his bike which was meant for a Pac-man conversion, and one that just had the “Jr. Pac-man” text in a curve that was meant for Super-Pac-man conversions. The curved text Jr. Pac-man sticker would fit at the space at the top of the cabinet just above Super Pac-man’s head.

Jr. Pac-man Sideart Thumbnail

So with potentially only 500 dedicated style Jr. Pac-man’s ever sold, and counting the possible number of those destroyed or converted or whatever else, that makes the original sideart sticker on a Mappy cabinet pretty hard to come by. Hell, I wouldn’t have even known it existed if I hadn’t seen a photo of this Jr. Pac-man machine on the KLOV site (Image to the right). I would have thought that there was only the conversion artwork available.

Why I like the artwork for Jr. Pac-man

The Jr. Pac-man sideart has been a piece of artwork that I have known about for awhile, but in late 2006 through early 2007 I developed a true fascination for it. The reason I am facinated with the artwork is that I love the Pac-man character / history, I love the gameplay for this particular game and the tweaks they did to make it a new twist, and the fact that the Jr. Pac-man is really rare to find in it’s entirety with little damage (Most commonly in rips to the sideart) also makes it desirable.

Check out the image below. What I really loved about the original sideart on any games is that it was a composition with the
shape of the cabinet, and some of the coolest artwork was stenciled on the cabinets. (Now, in this case, Jr. Pac-man is a little different because the original sideart is a sticker that was applied to a Mappy cabinet, sometimes right over top of the Mappy sideart sticker. When there are rips in the sideart, you can see the original Mappy sticker underneath.)

Jr. Pac-man Conversion Sideart sticker

Early on I got a large format digital .jpg image of the Jr. Pac-man “text” sticker meant for a Pac-man conversion. Since it held little value to me I checked one of the larger websites for arcade art, Localarcade, and they didn’t have a source to trace this artwork yet. So I sent the guy this Jr. Pac-man text image and have been working with him to produce a nice piece of digital vector art.

Looking for an original Jr. Pac-man

As of late 2006 I know of two original Jr. Pac-man’s that are within a reasonable driving distance of me. One I have seen in person, and another one I have only seen in photos, but both have the sides painted over in black. This makes my drive that much stronger, being frustrated that there are two Jr. Pac-man’s in Mappy cabinets that are so close to me, but either have no sideart, or it is painted over and if potentially uncovered would have tears anyway.

I went back and forth on what to do. The painting on these two Jr. Pac-man machines was all over the game, even the top sides of the marquee header. I know what a pain paint can be to remove from a machine from experience. And even then, there are no guarantees on how it would look. So, I decided that I would start to look for images of the Jr. Pac-man sideart that I could trace and potentially have to reproduce if I ever figured I wanted either one of these two, or if I wanted to buy a Mappy and convert it.

Jr. Pac-man Dedicated Sideart sticker

I had spent a lot of time searching online for photos of the cabinet sides, but with little luck. Then in early 2007 I found a website that had photos of the game with sideart that were a little bit bigger in resolution than the photo on KLOV. Nonetheless, both of these sets of images were still too small to even think about reproducing the artwork in vector format by tracing. (On the left is one of the images I found.) With such little luck I just figured there was no way I was going to find enough instances of the Jr. Pac-man machines and collectors with them to get some photos to work from.

But then, I found a listing on GGDB of a collector who had a really nice looking Jr. Pac-man, and a photo of it in a line of other arcade machines showing that it had great sideart. Finally! Someone I could contact for help. (It wasn’t until later that I figured out later he was the same individual who had submitted the first photo I saw on Klov. I used the network of collectors I have been building to get an email address, because at the time I didn’t know his profiles on the Arcade forum websites, and started a line of communication to get the Jr. Pac-man artwork reproduced.

Jr. Pac-man Registry

I have started a registry for all of the dedicated Jr. Pac-man owners that still exist. There aren’t many, and its hard to confirm the real ones because of the shared Mappy cabinet. So, this list also considers whether the cabinet has the original dedicated sideart or not. Check out the Jr. Pac-man Arcade Game Registry.

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